Frequently Asked Questions

Find answers to common questions regarding COVID-19 and OSU's response. Questions and answers are updated frequently, so check back often for more information.

Until further notice, every laboratory should transition to minimal operations. This level of operation should require only infrequent and short-term visits by critical personnel. Critical activities would be those that maintain the continued viability of large and complex projects, as well as unique specimens and collections; plants and animals or cultures; highly specialized analytical, manufacturing; computing facilities; and field-based facilities and laboratories. Researchers should consult with their department heads, deans or the vice president for research, as appropriate, to discuss research facilities that support essential research and to determine how best to transition labs and facilities.

Last updated: March 31, 2020

LABS

In nearly all cases, lab work will be taught through alternative methods so that students can be taught the course outcomes. Each faculty member will make the best possible decision as to how those outcomes are taught. Faculty will communicate with their students after judgments are made on a case-by-case basis about the method of course delivery.

FIELD WORK

In nearly all cases, field work will be taught through alternative methods so that students can be taught the course outcomes. Each faculty member will make the best possible decision as to how those outcomes are taught. Faculty will communicate with their students after judgments are made on a case-by-case basis about the method of course delivery.

Last updated: March 19, 2020

All non-essential OSU-sponsored travel is suspended at this time, including international travel and domestic travel. Also, OSU is strongly discouraging all travel, including essential OSU-sponsored travel and personal travel. OSU-sponsored travel includes all travel related to research projects sponsored by various funding agencies, including federal agencies. If you have a scheduled OSU-sponsored trip in the next few months, or are considering one, please reach out to your department/school/college leadership as well as the Research Office with details on the work you have planned. Details may include information on circumstances around the planned trip, the timing, the location, the mode of transportation, whether or not social distancing is possible, and information about the circumstances that might necessitate an exception. If you are planning on travel later in the spring or summer, it may be possible for you to book travel on refundable fares. Please contact the Research Office to see if prior approval or documentation is required by the sponsor.

Last updated: March 23, 2020

Oregon State University collected more than 12 pallets of personal protective equipment, including nearly 200,000 pairs of gloves and more than 8,000 face masks, and is providing the much-needed supplies to Oregon health care workers confronting the COVID-19 pandemic. The OSU response to a call on March 22, 2020, from Provost and Executive Vice President Ed Feser was far-reaching throughout the state and included labs and facilities on the Corvallis campus, OSU-Cascades in Bend, the Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport, the Food Innovation Center in Portland, Experiment Stations and Extension offices.

Supplies are now being distributed to counties across the state and will be returned to OSU if not needed. The OSU collection effort has ended for now but could be resumed if state or county officials put a call out for more supplies.

Last updated: March 31, 2020

Federal agencies have implemented flexibility allowed by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget.  We will update this site with agency guidance as available.

Other federal funding agencies appear to be committed to follow suit along similar lines.

Non-federal funding agencies are also providing additional flexibilities on a case-by-case basis.

 

Last updated: April 21, 2020

All OSU research compliance functions (Environmental Health and Safety, Biosafety, Human Research Protection Program, Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee, Conflict of Interest, Small Boat & Dive Safety, etc.) are fully operational. 

Given the need to practice social distancing, research that involves human subjects must be limited. Effective March 21, 2020, in-person research study visits must be discontinued unless those visits have a direct therapeutic benefit to the subjects and are essential for the subjects’ health and safety.  This directive applies to research conducted by OSU researchers at any site worldwide.

If you have questions, please consult the appropriate department web pages for contact information and relevant FAQs, for example see  Human Research Protection Program COVID-19 information and Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) COVID-19 information.

Last updated: March 31, 2020

We currently have no available guidance on whether the additional costs will be allowable, and we recommend that you use your best judgment when making these decisions. Prior approval from the sponsor may be required, so please contact OSRAA in these cases. If you decide to move forward with incurring additional costs, please retain detailed documentation and make the Research Office aware so that we can track all such instances in case there is an opportunity for reimbursement.

Last updated: March 15, 2020

There may be situations where you find that a grant-funded student or staff member is not able to perform their duties, and you may have questions about continuing to charge their time to your grant. Under these conditions, the staff member should utilize the federally-mandated 80-hour COVID leave. Note that, following OSU leave policies, the leave will be applied proportionally to all indices associated with the labor distribution of the staff member, including grants, contracts, cooperative agreements, gift, or other funds.

If an employee has used up their COVID leave and all other leave balances but still cannot perform their duties, please contact your assigned Human Resources Strategic Partner or a member of the Employee and Labor Relations Team to discuss the details of the situation.

Last updated: March 31, 2020

80 hours of paid leave is federally mandated.  80 hours of leave is available to all OSU employees, regardless of the funding source that provides salary (e.g. state funding, grant funding, gift or alternative funding).  Individuals paid on grants will be entitled to the leave in the same way as other OSU employees, and their salary should continue to be charged to the grant and other indices per allowability guidelines regardless of usage of COVID leave or other leave. 

If an alternative funding mechanism materializes at a future date, we will assist in moving labor charges as appropriate, but no such funding mechanism is currently available.

Last updated: March 31, 2020

Maintaining research continuity is a critical function and should continue. However, all researchers who are able to work from home should do so until further notice. Some OSU employees will be required to continue working in OSU facilities around the state, including in labs and research spaces, to deliver critical services. Researchers who are not designated to continue working in an OSU facility should work from home to facilitate social distancing.

Other research and business continuity considerations:

  • Work with your OSU Human Resources Strategic Partner to complete your unit’s continuity plan. This plan will include identifying essential personnel and assuring they know what to do in the current state of minimal operations. It also will include communication planning, including the sharing of cell phone numbers among members of your work and research team.
  • Identify research priorities to be addressed in the state of minimal operations.
  • Inventory and perform advance testing to ensure remote internet access to files, data, servers, etc.
  • Prioritize research experiments, as appropriate.
  • Be on the lookout for information regarding human and animal subject research. Plan for the potential need to modify activities.
  • Plan for potential disruptions to research acquisitions, imports, exports and transfers.
  • Plan for remote proposal submission.
  • Review the university’s current travel guidelines on the COVID-19 website before making travel plans.
Last updated: March 23, 2020

Every researcher should complete ongoing experiments as expediently as possible while engaging fully in social distancing. Researchers planning to start new experiments should consider approaches that allow for the cessation of operations with little notice while retaining the relevancy of the data collected up until that point.

Last updated: March 23, 2020

OSU’s Office for Sponsored Research and Award Administration (OSRAA) is able to submit proposals, negotiate and accept awards, issue subcontracts/subawards, and submit and process other sponsor requests while staff are working remotely. OSRAA email and voice messages are  monitored during this period of remote work, please contact us via email or phone. In-person services are not available. Some funding agencies have extended proposal deadlines and may provide individual flexible proposal deadlines under extenuating circumstances.

Last updated: April 20, 2020

The COVID-19 leave will be paid and charged to departments under the same process as current sick leave. Grants will be responsible for this unanticipated expense.

Last updated: March 24, 2020

Please consult with the Office of Sponsored Research and Award Administration to help you determine if the funding source will cover these expenses.  If it is determined the funding source will not reimburse for the expenses, the university will reimburse you.  Please retain documentation of the determination and submit with your travel reimbursement request. We encourage you to check with your travel provider as many are waiving change or cancellation fees so that travelers can postpone their travel plans with little or no penalty.

Last updated: March 23, 2020

All OSU employees:

Employees who are not able to perform their duties remotely and cannot be reassigned to other work for the sponsored project and have exhausted COVID-19 Leave, accrued paid leave and any supplemental programs (as listed below), cannot continue to get paid for work that has not been rendered. This applies to all sources of salary funding (state, gift, grant, other funding). If you believe that you or an employee will be in this situation, please contact your Human Resources (HR) Strategic Partner.

OSU research employees:

OSU encourages principal investigators and research supervisors to identify meaningful work for research employees that brings value to the university’s mission and advances a research project and scholarship. During the university’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and to the extent possible, PIs and supervisors should reassign graduate research assistants, research associates and faculty research assistants to undertake work that might fall outside of an originally intended work plan but still is in keeping with the intent of the project or grant and advances their research. 

Leave Benefits for All OSU Employees:

As a reminder, all OSU employees who are not able to work due to the university’s COVID-19 response – or due to their own personal wellness or family circumstances – may use the following leave, if eligible.

  • Use first: OSU-provided 80 hours of paid COVID-19 leave. This paid leave is pro-rated to the FTE of an employee’s current appointment. This 80-hour benefit is consistent with recently required federal COVID-19 benefits and is not meant to be in addition to federally mandated time. 
  • Then use: Accrued personal sick leave, personal leave and accrued vacation that an employee may have available.
  • In addition: All employees have supplemental leave programs. Academic and professional faculty may request use of the Unearned Sick Leave Advance program. Classified employees and Graduate Assistants have use of donation programs contained within the respective collective bargaining agreements between their union and the university.
Last updated: April 12, 2020

Any possible impacts on labs should depend on the details of the specific labs and the nature of the research or instruction within those labs. We understand that there are certain laboratories that need to maintain essential services (for example, to protect animal health). We encourage researchers to consider how they can access their data remotely to best maintain continuity of research operations.

Any possible impacts on field work should depend on the details of the field work, such as timing, location, the make-up of the field teams, whether or not the field teams are already at a location and the nature of any travel restrictions at the time of the work. Judgments may need to be made on a case-by-case basis by the respective unit head.

 

Last updated: March 13, 2020

All OSU employees:

Employees who are not able to perform their duties remotely and cannot be reassigned to other work for the sponsored project and have exhausted COVID-19 Leave, accrued paid leave and any supplemental programs (as listed below), cannot continue to get paid for work that has not been rendered. This applies to all sources of salary funding (state, gift, grant, other funding). If you believe that you or an employee will be in this situation, please contact your Human Resources (HR) Strategic Partner.

OSU research employees:

OSU encourages principal investigators and research supervisors to identify meaningful work for research employees that brings value to the university’s mission and advances a research project and scholarship. During the university’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and to the extent possible, PIs and supervisors should reassign graduate research assistants, research associates and faculty research assistants to undertake work that might fall outside of an originally intended work plan but still is in keeping with the intent of the project or grant and advances their research. 

Leave Benefits for All OSU Employees:

As a reminder, all OSU employees who are not able to work due to the university’s COVID-19 response – or due to their own personal wellness or family circumstances – may use the following leave, if eligible.

  • Use first: OSU-provided 80 hours of paid COVID-19 leave. This paid leave is pro-rated to the FTE of an employee’s current appointment. This 80-hour benefit is consistent with recently required federal COVID-19 benefits and is not meant to be in addition to federally mandated time. 
  • Then use: Accrued personal sick leave, personal leave and accrued vacation that an employee may have available.
  • In addition: All employees have supplemental leave programs. Academic and professional faculty may request use of the Unearned Sick Leave Advance program. Classified employees and Graduate Assistants have use of donation programs contained within the respective collective bargaining agreements between their union and the university.
Last updated: April 12, 2020

OSU is keepinging track of any leave that a grant-funded employee used because they could not work due to COVID-19 so that the costs on grants due to the COVID-19 crisis can be documented and communicated.  Employees who are not able to perform their duties remotely and have exhausted COVID-19 leave should use accrued sick leave and vacation (when applicable). For more details, see details on the HR COVID-19 Leave page.

If an employee is using accrued sick, vacation of other leave (other than COVID-19) because they cannot perform their duties due to COVID-19, they should indicate this when recording the leave (see instructions).

Last updated: April 8, 2020